Adrian Peterson's bum ankle could keep him sidelined for several weeks, creating carries for Percy Harvin, Toby Gerhart and others.
Adrian Peterson's final run Sunday proved to be vintage "All Day." Except that it resulted in a shortened afternoon.
First came a dash to the hole, then a cyclone spin to avoid congestion on the left side of the line. Another burst of acceleration left Raiders linebacker Kamerion Wimbley holding nothing but Peterson's right shoe. Yet as the Vikings running back was yanked to the turf a second later, his left ankle rolled up under Oakland's Michael Huff.
Just like that, an impressive 12-yard run morphed into a nightmare scenario for the Vikings. First, Peterson struggled just to limp back to the sideline. Soon after he was carted off Mall of America Field.
On Monday afternoon, Peterson left Winter Park wearing a bulky walking boot, protective footwear he will need for most, if not all, of this week.
The official diagnosis: It's a Grade 1 high ankle sprain with some minor ligament damage.
"The good news," coach Leslie Frazier said, "is there is nothing more serious than that -- the fact that it is an ankle sprain and he'll recover from it. It's just the matter of the amount of time he'll miss."
Presumably, gamesmanship prevented Frazier from declaring Peterson out for next Sunday's game in Atlanta -- too early for that announcement. Instead, the Vikings coach said he first wants to see if Peterson can practice at all Friday.
But it's hard to imagine, given Peterson's long-term worth and the low stakes of the next few games, why the Vikings would even consider rushing him back.
In that regard, Frazier at least acknowledged the caution he will use when monitoring Peterson's recovery.
"We don't want to put him at risk," Frazier said. "You know how valuable he is to our team and our franchise. We'll monitor where he is and try to make a decision on what's best for him and what's best for our team."
With so little to recover in a downward-spiraling season that now has the Vikings at 2-8 and tied with St. Louis and Carolina for the second-worst record in the NFL, Peterson might get at least one Sunday off. Maybe two or three.
That's what backup Toby Gerhart is preparing for anyway. Gerhart had seven carries for 18 yards Sunday in Peterson's absence. Four of his runs were for 2 yards or fewer. On the season, Gerhart now has 118 rushing yards. But in Atlanta, he could assume a featured role.
"It's an opportunity at Adrian's expense, which is something you don't really want," Gerhart said. "We're all hoping he gets better quick. But at the same time I'm excited. It's a chance for me to really show what I can do and be featured and have fun with it."
Lorenzo Booker could also be called into action in the backfield. And, yes, coaches still are thrilled to have the services of Percy Harvin, who wound up being the Vikings' biggest offensive playmaker against the Raiders with 73 receiving yards and 21 more on the ground.
Harvin also had a 35-yard touchdown run nullified by a Michael Jenkins holding penalty and is averaging 8.0 yards per rushing attempt this season.
"One of the things coming out of the bye, we wanted to come up with more ways to get Percy the football," Frazier said. "That's what we have been trying to do and that's what we wanted to do [Sunday]. The fact that Adrian wasn't in the ball game created more opportunities for Percy."
This week, there likely will be more opportunities for Toby, too. And while the second-year back out of Stanford isn't certain how productive he can be, he's at least feeling more comfortable and eager for his chance to shine.
"Last year, I feel like I was nervous when I got my shot and a little hesitant," he said. "But now I feel much more confident, much more relaxed just going out there and playing football and doing the thing I've done since I was 8 years old."
|NY Mets - LP: J. Hefner||2||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: S. Feldman||8|
|Seattle - LP: O. Perez||4||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: C. Perez||5|
|Toronto - LP: B. Morrow||2||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps||7|
|Cincinnati||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Chicago WSox||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Tampa Bay||0||Top 2nd Inning|
|Houston - E. Bedard||6:05 PM|
|Pittsburgh - A. Burnett|
|Los Angeles - C. Capuano||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - K. Medlen|
|Boston - R. Dempster||6:10 PM|
|Minnesota - S. Diamond|
|Arizona - B. McCarthy||6:10 PM|
|Miami - T. Koehler|
|Milwaukee - M. Estrada||6:15 PM|
|St. Louis - L. Lynn|
|Detroit - A. Sanchez||7:05 PM|
|Texas - J. Grimm|
|San Francisco - T. Lincecum||7:10 PM|
|Colorado - T. Chatwood|
|Washington - J. Zimmermann||7:40 PM|
|San Diego - E. Stults|
|Kansas City - E. Santana||8:05 PM|
|Oakland - T. Milone|
|New York||7:00 PM|
|Los Angeles||8:00 PM|
|New England||7:30 PM|
|FC Dallas||9:30 PM|
|Aug 9 - vs. Houston||7 pm|
|Aug 16 - at Buffalo||6 pm|
|Aug 25 - at San Francisco||7 pm|
|Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee||7 pm|
|2013 regular season|
|Sep 8 - at Detroit||Noon|
|Sep 15 - at Chicago||Noon|
|Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland||Noon|
|Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London)||Noon|
|Oct 6 - Bye|
|Oct 13 - vs. Carolina||Noon|
|Oct 21 - at. NY Giants||7:40 pm|
|Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay||7:30 pm|
|Nov 3 - at Dallas||Noon|
|Nov 7 - vs. Washington||7:25 pm|
|Nov 17 - at Seattle||3:25 pm|
|Nov. 24 - at Green Bay||Noon|
|Dec 1 - vs. Chicago||Noon|
|Dec 8 - at Baltimore||Noon|
|Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia||Noon|
|Dec 22 - at Cincinnati||Noon|
|Dec 29 - vs. Detroit||Noon|